Google+ will outpace Facebook in sharing of online content among U.S. users by February 2016, according to a new study from search and social analytics firm Searchmetrics.
The study projected forward the average growth in shares on the competing social networks from November 2012 to April 2013. During this period, shares on Facebook shares by nearly 10 percent; +1′s on Google+ grew nearly twice as fast.
“While it still has a relatively small base, Google+ activity and users are growing at an insane speed. And the unthinkable is possible – in terms of the important area of sharing activity at least, our data shows it could actually catch up with Facebook if the trend continues,” Marcus Tober, founder and CTO of Searchmetrics, said in a statement.
Indeed, the study found that Google+ has increased its number of users largely by forcing users of other Google services to create accounts and that just a quarter of all users with Google+ accounts have ever used them. Even so, Google’s strategy is resulting in more activity on its social platform.
“Google wants as many people as possible to share things,” said Tober. “It can roll up this information into the mass of data that helps it understand which content people consider valuable and useful and give it insights about how to position it in search results. This social data will also help Google build more personalized search results that tie in with a person’s social network connections and activities.”
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.